While banners fluttered, rallies held and exhaustive discussions on women’s rights were held in the city as part of International Women’s Day celebrations, at the secluded campus of the Centre for Development Studies (CDS), a rather unusual project was set up to mark the day.
At the amphitheatre here, an indefinitely shaped structure sat with bits of cloth wound around it, a metal string was attached to it and a replica of a globe hung from the other end. On the other side, a crude ‘cradle’ lightly swayed.
A Master of Arts student here, Thomas Mathew, explains the significance of this unique contraption and what the students of the institution plan to deduce from it. Deriving from an extract of a poem by William Ross Wallace, ‘The hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world’, the structure invites faculty, students and cleaning staff to put next to the cradle, an object that symbolises their interpretation of what lends most to the oppression of women.
Already, disparate items lay scattered around the structure, including a broom, an ‘ammikallu’ (a traditional stone pestle using for crushing spices or food grain) and bits of bangles. “One of the cleaning staff women hauled this from the kitchens when she was told about what this structure was all about,” said J. Devika, an Associate Professor at CDS. “There is no child in the cradle and is meant to be filled with whatever one thinks a woman should be carrying. We will leave it here for a few days and afterwards, collect all the objects strewn around, catalogue and reflect on the different ideas that are conveyed through each thing,” she said.
Once in three months, CDS puts out their newsletter titled, ‘CDS Chronicles’. This time, the newsletter would have students writing about what all was found near the structure, Ms. Devika added.